Why you should take a day off from tech
Why you should take a day off from tech
22:39

Why you should take a day off from tech

Tech Industry
[MUSIC] Tiffany, thank you so much for joining us today and we're going to talk about your new book. And even though your book has just been released on paperback, and I'll give everyone. But two seconds spiel on what it is or one second spiel, 24/6 the power of unplugging one day a week. This is something that you've actually been passionate about for a long time because you come and talk to us about your technology, Shabbat but let's rewind a second and talk about for whatever you've been doing it 810 years now a long time you've been taking a day off from Tech and you saw that a long time ago. So tell us about the first moment you did it and why it was so important to you. Basically the way I know you is through technology and from what I found out the way we words and you are always covering it and of course we love it and it's been so exciting but there was a period about 11 years ago where I just felt like I couldn't focus I couldn't think without being interrupted and I didn't feel like I was ever present and had this very dramatic kind of period of days of my life where I lost my father and our daughter was born and it felt like life was grabbing me by the shoulders and saying Focus on what's important. So my husband and I, he's a professor of robot robotics. Obviously we're both into it. But we said let's just turn it the screens off from Friday night to Saturday night for what we call our technology shabbats. And we did it and we. We just it felt so good. It was like this immediate oasis of calm and presence and I had different kinds of thoughts that I felt more productive. The next day, I felt more connected with my family with myself. There's so many benefits, we never stopped doing it. So it's been almost 11 years now. And the longer we've done it, the more crazy everyone's gotten with the screens. And this was even like before the pandemic, so, Thought I've got to share this idea, I mean, I'm Jewish or not religious, but the idea of a day of rest is this profound, deep ancient wisdom that really only the most observant religious people do today. And so I myself as a secular Jew, who's like, This is a really. Brilliant, powerful idea of a day of us so I wanted to liberate it for everyone and you know in much in the way like yoga and meditation, you don't have to be from those backgrounds but they can just bring such focus and presence back to your life. So I wrote the book 24 six, it came out in paperback last year before the pandemic and that was a very exciting period. Talking about how many people have done it now and then the pandemic happened. It was like, My gosh, people have to bounce screens 10 times more, and it's become 10 times more valuable for my family. Well, let's talk about let's talk about some of this. Like I said, You've been doing this for a long time. So you recognized early on as anybody who has been around tech. Has recognizes that it's very distracting that you know, the fear of missing out FOMO keeps you addicted to your device. You're holding it all your time. you're checking it constantly. And we all know that when you get distracted, it takes a while to refocus, right. And if you're constantly turning and checking stuff, it's problematic and you're creative person. Yeah.>> And so It hits and hurts your creativity. It really does. I mean, I look at creativity like an athlete and how can I get into flow? I mean, I think we all want to get into a flow state where we can really think expansively and go further on an idea or even read deeply, like Do not read deeply the other six days. I read a lot, but they say we're reading more than ever but we're skim reading. But I always print out things I wanna read deeply or books I wanna read deeply on Saturday. So I'm a big journal writer, I write down, do a lot of writing and there is no doubt that my best ideas hands down Come on Saturday. And there's so the book I go into a lot of neuroscience which I make a lot of films about, and there's so much to back that up that it's why you have your best ideas. When you're in the shower or doing the dishes or going for a walk, your brain goes into this mode called the default mode network. It basically allows you to process all the input everything in there and it suddenly starts making new connections on its own. But the way we're living right now is we're optimizing every friggin second with a podcast with the news with an alert, we do not give our minds any time to do its magic. And to process and get perspective and reflect. So, even as crazy as it's been with the pandemic and the election when I'm so stressed out, but I'm checking the news way more than I care to share. I rest what's friday night I'm like, I get to shut out the world for a second and just like come back to myself. And we turn off all screens friday night, those are people for dinner now outside. And I have the best dinner conversation of all week. I feel like just the most connected to everyone. No one's pulling out their phones, which is a really different experience when the phones not in the hand or on the table. And then on Saturday, I just feel like I think in a completely different way. I laugh a lot more. And then Sunday, I feel more productive, just hands down. I just so It has so many benefits that I just I feel like we should look at this really old idea that's lasted so many thousands of years that not many people will know and us right now because because 24 seven was held up as this ideal and technology from the early web, there were days. They can blur boundaries. You can work from anywhere, but You shouldn't really work from anywhere, you should actually create some boundaries and it will ultimately allow you to work better than just working all the time in between the social media. It's all mishmash together, so you never really. Are giving yourself a true break. So again, I've talked to you about this a lot and I want to make sure that people understand there's lots of benefits. It's not just that you're, you're you can get focus on technology. There's blue light, you can sleep better if you step away from your technology, right there's you talked about the neurological and. Psychological and emotional impact. So I just want to spend a minute talking about some of the other benefits because like I said, we've talked about this, it decreases in anxiety and depression. It can improve your health. You can sleep better, you're more focused, but you're also the one that I always think is very interesting by stepping away from tack is your more productive. You said you get your best ideas on Saturdays. So talk about some of these other benefits that people might not normally associate. Well, I think a lot about what you cover with CNET and it's always the new technology that's going to make something more efficient. So what if you looked at rest as a technology, like truly, that rest itself is this very. Primal technology to make you function better. I mean like right now, I've been pretty stressed out the paperback came out today I have a film I've been making about the election that comes out this week. Also, it all kind of crammed into one week so I'm not sleeping very well. So I don't feel like I'm at my hundred percent because I'm not sleeping as well. Now. Do have problems sleeping. So the fact that I sleep the best on Friday night, when all the devices are out of the bedroom, which is the only day they are, that should tell you something. So I think this idea of rest itself or turning off the screen themselves can be this form of technology that is going to make you more productive and, I think my husband says it's the best, cuz he first taught me about Shabbat really, because I mean I told you I was like secular Jew from Northern California. We didn't really do much anything except the food, and then humor and all that. But he lived in Israel for graduate school, and the whole country shuts down and they take the whole day. You can't take a bus. You can't do anything. And, and they only have a one day weekend because they all work on Sunday. And he at first was frustrated by it and then he was like, My gosh, I love this day. I'm reading poetry and painting. I'm forced to not do anything for work. And of course, Israel's a very productive country and this is a country that really takes one complete day off. So again, taking it out of any kind of religious called, you know, context or anything, it is just that this concept that you will perform better and more productive. If you really take this one true day where there is no obligations, you're not getting the news. You are not needing to respond to a million things in the outside world. It like replenishes you and your ideas and your productivity and this whole new way. Okay, so let's say I buy into everything you're saying, which by the way I do. But for argument's sake I buy into everything you're saying, but I am now living under COVID. And what does that mean? It doesn't mean that I'm working from home? Because working from home is not it doesn't mean the same thing today that it did a year ago, or two years ago where you were just setting up some time to do some work tasks at home, you're actually living at work. And that is the problem, right? It's constantly 24/7, you're with people are working remotely with people who maybe don't respect those boundaries. Because obviously they don't because everyone is just looking for a distraction almost. And I think technology has become a reason to, or an excuse for that distraction- I agree. I mean, I think it's a numbing. I mean, I think about our kids and one of the best thing I think it's taught, we have a 17 year old and an 11 year old. And, you know, that's entertainment felt like on Saturday. There's so much available to us to distract us, to entertain us, to stress us out ,to feel needed to feel valued. There's like all these things that are happening on there, but any great Wisdom practice is like you should be comfortable with being by yourself. You'll be able if you quiet the noise you'll hear your inner voice and that is very true. I find that on Saturdays I things I'm worried about or wrestling with. I kind of Quiet the noise on it and I, I hear what I think I need to do in a better way. But I do think we're raising all of us kids of ourselves that there's never a moment we can't just flick the phone and just check the latest news, the latest social media notifications and you know, sometimes it's a little, you might be uncomfortable for a second to just sit with yourself but I promise you once you get past that, it's like amazing to just like. Think without distraction or be with people without distraction or read without distraction or think without it's just we've forgotten what it's like. Alright, so give us some suggestions for co workers who want to introduce Truth on our life all the time via technology. Do you have some? I do have some hacks because I in the book, I talk about the textbook which is a full day we've been throughout the week. So talk about these like Interventions I do that's big phone, but there's a hack where you know how a lot of people worry about texts like what somebody texts me, they don't know I'm offline and they feel you feel an urgency to respond. But like when you're driving and it says, I'm driving when we used to drive, I'm driving, I can't reach the phone. There's a hack you can do. You can just like change that copy. So not disturb mode. You're not disturbed like but you can say I'm taking the day off. And I bet you if any Anybody from my staff or my team at any of the various places at different points in my career was like, I really need to take one day where I'm not available so I can be more available to you the other six days. I don't know who if you frame it the right way. It's not like I'm not available to you because everyone needs to be available. 24 seven, which I don't think is very healthy. But I think if you frame it as like I'm feeling really burned out, which I think everyone could relate to. I really feel like if I just took one day where I wasn't responding to any of your emails, I'm not gonna look at text and I'm just gonna Refresh, reboot, replenished, you're going to get a much better employee and I'm gonna be able to contribute in a better way and I don't know who would say no to that. Because the mental health issue is very real right now a lot of people are feeling burnt out and And I think the lonely aspect of tech even though we're so connected, but really are we that connected I mean, maybe if you invited someone over on your screen free day and I really walk you through in the book, like if you want to bring this into your life and and the books been out for years that has, there's so many people, somebody just tweeted, she's like I'm a lapsed Catholic and I'm doing types of ads now and it's so Totally changed my life. And I love hearing from readers because it's such a simple thing as I turn off your screens for a day, but people have such fear around it but I really walk you through in the book I go through kind of the history of technology and a philosophy of a day of rest and production, activity in our crazy society right now. But then I also really walk you through, okay, how are you going to do it? Like I recommend if you really want to try this look in your calendar and plan for weeks, put it in there no screens because it's about the ritual. And some people say, Well, I turn off my screens on vacation when I go for a walk, which is great. But there is something about the power of a ritual of one day every week, you know, you're going to get this reset. And to me the power is like baking it into your week like I'm already looking forward to Friday we are at Tuesday [LAUGH] and that is the rhythm of my week where I'm like, I started to look forward to it and then I have this really great social night Friday night in person and the screens are off and then a full day where I feel protected. It feels like self defense right now because. What are you looking at the news when it's not stressful right now? Not very much. All Right? Okay, so these hacks, somebody might say a day is a lot. I don't know that I can do a day, and I need to, To I need to build up to it I need to know I wouldn't want that to stop you. I do talk about that. Like, you know, maybe you start which is Friday night until noon the next day. I promise you that waking up not to your phone which I normally so Actually, when the last election happened, I used to wake up and get look at the New York Times app gets so stressed out. And that would start my day like my heartbeats going and I was like, Whoa, I do not want to let Trump dictate my day. And so I this is another one of my interventions and I do talk about this in the book. Is that before I look at my phone so it's on, it's on airplane mode and I am using it as an alarm clock. I've tried other things but doesn't seem to work for me. So I still use it that way but it's on airplane mode till I go to get my coffee and then I have this Five Minute Journal, grateful for what do you hope for the day takes like 10 minutes and then I look at my phone and just that little, don't let the phone set the tone for the day and then at the end of the day I'm reading sometimes I'm checking my phone, but I put it away and I open up that journal again. And it's like, what were three amazing things that happened today often very different than what I thought they were going to be and then what's one thing you wish you did differently? A little bit of reflection I'm telling you to start and end my day with my own grounding thinking, instead of the latest stressful news headline or a text I didn't respond to or an email that I'm like we're gonna worry about when I sleep so I won't sleep. It has so huge I have a whole section in the book of all these little things I do throughout the week. And for those of you that are worried about trying a whole week, I'd say to get the book. It's a it's an easy read. It's some And I will explain all the why I will convince you I think, with the science and with the, you know the why. And my own story because obviously I love technology. I'm not anti tech in any way. And then I would say yeah, take baby steps try the little mini interventions throughout the week and then try Friday night, try Friday night to noon. I mean, there are many Saturdays I do not want to go back on bed. But there is this kind of dual effect that a lot of times I do and I'm excited again for the internet, the interweb we live around, amazing. And our 17 year old daughter who's like in total stress of college applications, I'm sure you can remember that Connie? She just like the texture boss, she's so relieved by them. And she even said at the beginning of the pandemic, you know, texture about some of the only days I don't feel like I'm in quarantine when we were in that intense quarantine. And there's a couple times a year where Ken and I used to have to fly somewhere or she's got like a conference. She does Junior state of America and she can't do it and she feels like I didn't get that break. And just everyone just feel me and I feel it too if there's ever a reason I can't do it. And I do talk about that in the book like we're only human like there's gonna be. We have done it with kids in sports and coordinating, just like writing by hand where you need to go like. For this all fine. I can kind of remember, it really I could answer to every one of your reasons. Why not to do it why you should try it because I think we're at this Apex right now or people are just maxed out beyond belief and we need strategies for living in this always on world because we worked as designed. To be living like this, and as you saw from social dilemma and I mean, the people that were designing the way that the internet is using our brain right now and manipulating us are a whole bunch of young guys. They shouldn't be designing the way, I mean the business model of we must keep people's eyes glued to the screen to sell them more things is why we're staring at so many screens. They're gonna try all these tactics to do that. So our defence in addition to legislation and so many things that we can do, as citizens but personally, you can legislate yourself and be like, I'm gonna turn it off one day a week to get perspective. So it's really almost like taking control of your story not being the sub character in someone else's movement. They've set the agenda and you're just like the poster. You want to take control of the day. You want to take it to the director.>>Practice. That's right. Okay, so we're like I said, we're under COVID. There's a lot of stress, people are checking news. A lot of it is bad news. And so taking a day almost feels guilty. And even though we've just talked about all the reasons why it's good for you, from a health and mental health perspective, society is the problem. Right a big part of it because everyone else as many people as you know who take attack Shabbat, and I know that is still think- But that's what I think like rise up and be a leader and that like inspire other people to like I remember when I first was doing this like 10 or 11 years ago like you're doing what and now it's much more in the. And the public conversation but I think that I want to live in a society that values reflection and introspection and deep reading and deep thinking and and we have to make space for that. So I feel like we have to push back and go, No, I'm gonna put the circle around this one day a week. I'm still gonna contribute to society and I'm still on the internet but this is gonna make me healthier and happier and more productive member of society and a better parent, a better wife a better whatever friend. Because I know all of those things happen in such a crystal clear way On this one day a week, I just feel like I turned myself back on. I feel like I'm just like the other senses. I'm just like, I'm it. I'm gonna make dillo responding and reacting and pushing out and pushing in and I'm just like and then I like one day I just stop it. Process, digests, appreciate. Unless the other thing is during the week I feel like this insatiable hunger like I can never get enough. And it's designed that way. The business model of the web is designed to make it it drips you notifications, is stressful news. I want the next email. I want those boots that ad keeps showing up to the left of my email box. I want this, I want one. I'm hungry hungry. I turned it off. My gosh, I have so much right here. I don't need anything. I don't need anything. And it's such a fascinating switch that happens every week. It's like a switch goes on a switch goes off. I'm like, I'm so grateful for the roof over my head and that flower and our dog and suddenly I don't want anything and I'm just appreciating being present. And I think that's really fascinating thing that. Once people try it, it's you're going to crave it, you're going to crave that feeling, crave the feeling of being present. Well, and I love your description that if you thought about rest, as a technology or a moment, I mean, a moment of using technology, but you're not, then you would actually do it. Right because it's psyching yourself out almost. Yeah, it's like however you need to think about it. So it's a good thing. Instead of like your, I'm not gonna be available, I won't be responding won't know what FOMO. Just be like. And actually that's another great thing when you turn off, there's no FOMO because you don't know about it. A lot of the FOMO comes from not knowing so much is going on, turn off say I don't know anything about what's happening right in these four walls are out on a walk. And that's all I need to know. It's actually quite liberating. All right, what else do you want to tell people about? Technology shabbats that they should now, the takeaway from this conversation is very clear, take some time for yourself, take some time to focus and move away from the devices that have sort of taken control of our lives. I think the biggest thing is that. During the week, the others it's kind of harder for me like when that phone is right next to me to not just pick it up. See what you tweeted see what other people do it just so addictive and yummy and like boom when it's out of sight so the Friday night I put it away like in a drawer it actually is much easier when it really is a clear boundary that I think when it's hard is when It's around you So just think how can I create a little space of mine. How can I put it in a drawer for a day. And you'd be surprised on how out of sight, out of mind. And put on your desk all the things that you wish you did with more focus, like a book you want to read, a magazine, a musical instrument if you play, an art project, whatever it is. Doing nothing, but that if you remind yourself how much you enjoyed doing certain things without every page picking up [LAUGH] something, it's just like create an environment that's gonna be a better chance for you to appreciate it. So I have an idea for you before we get out Tiffany Yeah And that is I love the technology Shabbat I think it's brilliant and as I say we've been talking about this for years. And I have coupled it with pyjamas Saturday now even though we're all working in home. [LAUGH] We're all working at home and we can wear whatever we want. I actually do get up in the morning and put on. Like some regular clothes, because I don't want to feel that it's one continuous day, these last nine months. And before this all happened, I had pajamas Saturday, which was my day to not go out to just do anything. And now if I have to go out on a Saturday which is very rare, like where do you have to go? And read in my pajamas. My God I love that. I love that, I we could completely combine them. I mean it's the same mental idea is like, give yourself a break and don't put a lot of expectations on yourself for one day and I think wearing your pajamas is. Fabulous [LAUGH]. While you're enjoying technology, Shabbat Wear your pajamas. All right, thank you, Tiffany Schlenk, who again was the founder and creator of the Webby Awards as techie person as you want to get encouraging everyone to just put your devices away for one day. Thank you, Tiffany. Great talking to you Connie. And great seeing you

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